If you have been struck by a car as a pedestrian, it’s likely that you’ve sustained serious and even life-threatening injuries. You and your family should not have to endure the burden or the responsibility for the damages you have suffered. An Atlanta pedestrian accident attorney can help you seek compensation from the at-fault driver.
We have over 20 years of experience helping injured pedestrians win the financial recovery they deserve after an accident. We can assist you in building a strong injury claim and fighting for your rights. To schedule a FREE consultation with the best attorney for you, call us today or contact us online.
Pedestrian Accidents vs. Car Accidents
Any type of accident in Atlanta can be serious, but pedestrian accidents tend to be especially bad. Someone walking on the road is not protected by a vehicle like drivers. If a vehicle runs into a pedestrian, there is nothing to prevent serious or deadly injuries.
It can also be more difficult to prove fault after a pedestrian accident happens. The at-fault driver might flee the scene or try to blame you. If the accident caused you to lose consciousness, it’s harder to know exactly what happened without eyewitnesses, which might be difficult to get depending on where the accident occurred.
Thankfully, pedestrian accident lawyers in Atlanta know how to gather evidence even if you have a difficult case. It’s best to reach out to an experienced lawyer very soon after the accident. That way, you can know your options and get the help you deserve right away.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Atlanta
To seek compensation for your damages, you’ll need to identify how the accident happened and who caused it. The negligent party in your accident should be held liable for all the resulting damages. Here are some of the more common causes of pedestrian accidents and they are respective culpable parties:
Negligent or irresponsible driving can take many forms. Some of the most common include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Excessive speeding
- Failure to yield to the pedestrian
- Road rage
- Driving while fatigued
- Drugged driving
- Failure to stop
Each of these unsafe driving practices puts the driver and pedestrians at risk of suffering catastrophic and life-threatening injuries. Negligent drivers can be held accountable in civil court, but they may also be at risk of facing criminal penalties. This is especially true if they were drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident.
Dram Shop Liability
It should also be noted that if your pedestrian accident was caused by a drunk driver, the drunk driver may not be the only culpable party. Georgia’s dram shop liability laws state that dram shops, or establishments that serve or sell alcohol, can be held accountable in specific situations.
The establishment must have overserved or sold alcohol to the defendant, who was already under the influence at that time. The defendant must have later caused a car accident producing serious injuries. If a dram shop shares liability for your injuries, your attorney will fight to ensure that they are held accountable accordingly.
Unsafe or dangerous roads are another common cause of pedestrian accidents. If road construction zones are not secured, government agencies fail to replace missing street signs or make repairs to traffic lights, or the roads are otherwise unsafe for any motorist, it can also put pedestrians at risk.
Government agencies and municipalities, contractors and subcontractors, and other third parties who share responsibility for maintaining the integrity of Atlanta’s roads could be held accountable for your injuries.
Malfunctioning Vehicle Parts
Pedestrian accidents can also occur when a motor vehicle’s parts are defective or malfunctioning. If a driver is unable to stop their vehicle due to a defect, the driver may not necessarily be held accountable for your injuries. Instead, there are multiple parties who could be at fault, such as:
- Motor vehicle parts manufacturers
- Motor vehicle parts designers
- Motor vehicle parts distributors
- Safety inspectors
- Motor vehicle maintenance technicians
- Motor vehicle dealerships
- Other third parties
Your attorney will need to carefully examine the circumstances of your pedestrian accident case to determine not only how your injuries occurred but who should be compelled to compensate you for your suffering.
Proving Your Pedestrian Accident Claim
There are many different elements that must be proven in a pedestrian accident claim in Atlanta in order for you to get the compensation you deserve. Your Atlanta personal injury attorney must show that the at-fault driver was negligent in some way, that their actions or failure to act caused your injury, and that you have suffered because of this injury.
Attorneys in Atlanta pedestrian accident cases build claims using various methods. Evidence that could be used to help bolster your case includes:
- Traffic or nearby surveillance camera footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Testimony from accident reconstruction experts
- Hospital and medical records showing your injury
- Testimony about your lifestyle change due to injury (from you, family members, or friends)
- The official police report of the incident
Gathering and preserving all this evidence is important, and it must be done quickly before physical evidence is lost or memories fade. That’s one reason to contact an Atlanta pedestrian collision lawyer as soon as possible.
How the Right of Way Works for Pedestrians in Atlanta
Many drivers are not fully aware of pedestrian rights on Atlanta roads. It’s common for drivers to ignore pedestrians or fail to watch out for them at intersections, even when pedestrians have the right of way instead of cars. Here’s what everyone should understand about pedestrians’ rights and duties.
According to Ga. Code §40-6-90, pedestrians should obey all traffic-control devices applicable to pedestrians unless there are certain restrictions or privileges pertaining to the situation.
Right of Way in Crosswalks
When a pedestrian has reached at least half of the roadway at a crosswalk or within one lane of the half of the roadway where vehicles are traveling or turning, drivers should stop and not start again until the pedestrian has crossed.
Pedestrians also have a duty to not suddenly walk off of a curb or walk or run into a vehicle’s path when it’s clear that the driver wouldn’t be able to yield.
According to Ga. Code §40-6-92:
- Pedestrians crossing a road other than at a marked or unmarked crosswalk should yield the right of way to vehicles unless the pedestrian has already entered the road.
- When pedestrians are crossing a road where pedestrian tunnels or crossings are provided, pedestrians who use the road instead of a tunnel or crossing should yield the right of way to all vehicles.
- Pedestrians who are between adjacent intersections with operational traffic-control signals should not cross anywhere except at a marked crosswalk.
- No pedestrian can cross an intersection diagonally unless a traffic-control device authorizes it.
A Driver’s Duty to Pedestrians in Atlanta
Although pedestrians must follow certain traffic rules when crossing roads or intersections, drivers also have an important duty to pedestrians. This is outlined under Ga. Code §40-6-93, which states that every driver has a duty of care to avoid hitting any pedestrian on a roadway.
Drivers should also provide a warning by honking their horn, if needed, and exercise caution if they see a child or impaired person on the roadway.
Many pedestrian accidents happen because one or more drivers are not being diligent enough to avoid pedestrians on the road. It’s very rare for a pedestrian to be at fault for an accident involving a vehicle. If you were hurt as a pedestrian in Atlanta, a lawyer can help ensure you are not blamed for anything you did not do.
How Shared Liability Could Affect Your Compensation
Sharing fault for your pedestrian accident injuries is more common than you might think. You should also expect the defense to attempt to reduce their old liability by blaming you for causing the accident. Georgia operates under a modified comparative negligence system. If you share more than 49% of the blame for an accident, you can be barred from having your case heard in the court system.
However, if your portion of liability is less than this threshold, you can still recover compensation for your damages. However, that does not mean you will not be held accountable for your portion of liability. Sharing fault means your injury settlement will be reduced to account for your percentage of liability. Here is an example:
Lola was crossing the street in a crosswalk, but looking down at her phone when she was suddenly struck by a drunk driver. The defense argued that she was distracted at the time of the accident. The judge agreed, and found her 5% responsible for her injuries. The jury awarded Lola $500,000 for her damages. However, before she could collect her settlement, her award was reduced by 5% to account for her percentage of fault. This left Lola with a final injury settlement of $475,000.
If you have concerns surrounding how significantly your pedestrian accident claim could be affected by Georgia’s shared fault laws, do not hesitate to reach out to your attorney to discuss your questions in further detail.
File Your Claim Before Time Runs Out
The statute of limitations for a pedestrian accident claim in Atlanta is typically two years from the accident date. This might seem like a long period of time, but the deadline approaches quickly when you’re building a claim. Our pedestrian accident attorneys in Atlanta can help you from the very beginning, ensuring that you don’t miss out on what you’re entitled to receive.
Important Information Regarding Insurance Claims
One of the most common ways pedestrian accident victims recover compensation for their damages is by filing a claim with the insurance company.
Since the majority of pedestrian accidents occur when someone is struck by a motor vehicle, you may have the opportunity to file a claim with the liable driver’s auto insurance company. This is because Georgia is a fault state. You are not required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage because you will file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company instead of your own.
However, beware, dealing with the insurance company is one of the most difficult aspects of the pedestrian accident claims process. Here is more about what you can expect:
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
In negotiating with the insurance company, you need to be careful. You should never give the insurer a statement or accept a settlement offer without first discussing it with your pedestrian accident attorney. You do not want to risk being taken advantage of during your greatest time of need.
Insurance companies are profit-led. They care more about ensuring profit than they do about making sure you are compensated fairly for your suffering. There are many tactics insurance companies use to accomplish these goals. Some of these tactics include:
- Tempting an injury victim with a lowball, but fast settlement offer
- Delaying the processing of the pedestrian accident claim
- Placing unwarranted fault on the victim for their injuries
- Arguing that the policyholder does not have coverage
- Denying the pedestrian accident claim in bad faith
Insurance Settlements Cover Specific Damages
There are many misconceptions regarding how insurance settlements work. Specifically, many pedestrians assume their insurance settlement will cover all of their damages. However, the amount of compensation you could be awarded through an insurance settlement is based on how much coverage the policyholder purchased. Not what your damages are worth.
This leaves many pedestrian accident victims with excess losses the insurance company will not compensate for. When this happens, be prepared to file a lawsuit against the liable parties so you can recover maximum compensation for your damages.
Common Damages from Atlanta Pedestrian Accidents
When building your injury claim, you’ll need to know how much your total damages are worth. This includes damages like:
- Medical costs, including doctor and hospital bills, tests, surgeries, prescription medications, and future medical expenses;
- Lost wages from missed work time due to the accident;
- Property damages if any personal items were damaged in the accident; and
- Pain and suffering damages like loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other emotional damages.
You might be reading this page because you lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident. Our pedestrian accident lawyers in Atlanta are deeply passionate about helping mourning families seek recovery for monetary losses so they don’t have to bear that burden.
We can help you build a wrongful death claim to seek recovery for damages like medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering the loved one experienced, and loss of consortium or companionship. Contact our wrongful death lawyers in Atlanta for further guidance.
Additional Damages and Compensation in Atlanta Pedestrian Collisions
Some of the above causes of pedestrian accidents go far and above typical negligence. Drunk driving, road rage, and other acts may be enough to qualify your case for punitive damages in the eyes of the court.
Georgia law requires an “active tortfeasor” for a case to qualify for this additional compensation on top of the usual compensatory damages. This means that the court may decide that the defendant in your Atlanta pedestrian accident claim acted willfully and recklessly with complete disregard for the safety of others, thereby requiring punitive damages.
Punitive damages are rare, but they can be substantial. If your Atlanta pedestrian accident attorney can show that the defendant in your case was negligent beyond reason, your case might be entitled to this extra compensation.
Talk to an Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Attorney for Free Today
Our personal injury lawyers have over 20 years of experience handling cases throughout Georgia. We can help you sort through your legal options and seek justice for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation today through our online contact form.